At some point all of us have experienced ringing in the ears. Usually it’s the result of having been exposed to loud sounds that we are not accustomed to, such as a rock concert or firework show. It can sometimes be attributed to ear infections or head and neck injuries. Smoking, inadequate sleep, depression, stress, thyroid disease, and asthma have all been listed as possible causes for this condition. The sounds can be anything from ringing or hissing to whistling or clicking. The clinical name for this disorder is Tinnitus.
According to the American Tinnitus Association
, some 50 Million Americans have a degree of Tinnitus. Approximately 12 million have it severe enough that they need to seek medical attention and 2 million are so debilitated by this disease that they cannot function at a normal level.
What is Tinnitus like?
Some patients hear at a near normal level with a low grade sound disturbance in the background. Others can only hear the ringing or buzzing which largely drowns out the ambient sounds around them. Tinnitus is different than other kinds of hearing loss in that it is both an auditory disorder as well as a result of neuroplasticity changes that occur in the brain. Auditory function reduction causes fewer sound stimuli to reach the brain triggering these maladaptive changes.
Is there help?
This condition can be anywhere from barely noticeable, to kind of annoying, to completely debilitating. The good news is that hearing aids can ease symptoms and restore some degree of hearing to the patient. According to The Hearing Review’s article entitled, Tinnitus Treatment and the Effectiveness of Hearing Aids: Hearing Care Professional Perceptions
, up to 60% of sufferers reported some degree of relief from wearing a hearing aid. 22% reported major relief from wearing hearing aids.
How do hearing aids help?
Being properly fitted with appropriate hearing aids can help in a variety of ways. First it can mask some of the annoying ringing and buzzing that make this condition so difficult to cope with on a day to day basis. By masking the ringing, it forces the brain to focus on and process external ambient noises. Increased auditory stimulation to the brain causes quieter sounds to be heard and processed by the brain and providing them passage via auditory pathways.
People with Tinnitus may be experiencing a sense of social isolation due to the fact that it is difficult to follow and participate in conversations that are drowned out by the ringing of this disease. It is often impossible to talk on the phone, watch television, or even speak one on one, especially in a large area with a lot of background noise. By increasing the volume of external noise above the perceived volume of the Tinnitus, the patient experiences relief and begins to gain confidence in social situations once again.
If you are suffering from Tinnitus or a hearing loss of any kind, call Resonance Hearing Aids at 720-660-8960 to find out how to get an audiogram
. This graphic representation of your condition is your roadmap to recovery and relief. Your hearing specialist will take the time to go over these test results with you and come up with the best course of treatment for your particular type and degree of hearing loss.